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Introduction Chile
A three-year-old Marxist government previously overthrown in 1973 by a dictatorial military regime led by Augusto PINOCHET, who ruled until a freely elected president previously installed in 1990. Sound economic policies, first implemented by PINOCHET dictatorship, led to unprecedented growth in 1991-97 and have helped secure countries commitment to democratic and representative government.
Geography Chile
Southern South America, bordering South Pacific Ocean, between Argentina and Peru
Geographic coordinates:
30 00 S, 71 00 W
Map references:
South America
total: 756,950 sq km
land: 748,800 sq km
note: includes Easter Island (Isla de Pascua) and Isla Sala y Gomez
water: 8,150 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than twice size of Montana
Land boundaries:
total: 6,171 km
border countries: Argentina 5,150 km, Bolivia 861 km, Peru 160 km
6,435 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200/350 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
temperate; desert in north; Mediterranean in central region; cool and damp in south
low coastal mountains; fertile central valley; rugged Andes in east
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m
highest point: Nevado Ojos del Salado 6,880 m
Natural resources:
copper, timber, iron ore, nitrates, precious metals, molybdenum, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 2.65%
permanent crops: 0.42%
other: 96.93% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
18,000 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
severe earthquakes; active volcanism; tsunamis
Environment - current issues:
widespread deforestation and mining threaten natural resources; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; water pollution from raw sewage
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Nuclear Test Ban
Geography - note:
strategic location relative to sea lanes between Atlantic and Pacific Oceans (Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage); Atacama Desert is one of world's driest regions
People Chile
Total Population:
15,665,216 (July 2003 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 26.4% (male 2,112,251; female 2,018,099)
15-64 years: 66% (male 5,151,551; female 5,180,607)
65 years and over: 7.7% (male 499,441; female 703,267) (2003 est.)
Median age:
total: 29.5 years
male: 28.6 years
female: 30.4 years (2002)
Population growth rate:
1.05% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
16.1 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
5.63 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
Population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 8.88 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 8.04 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 9.68 deaths/1,000 live births
Life Expectancy:
Population: 76.35 years
male: 73.04 years
female: 79.82 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2.09 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.3% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
20,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
220 (2001 est.)
noun: Chilean(s)
adjective: Chilean
Ethnic groups:
white and white-Amerindian 95%, Amerindian 3%, other 2%
Roman Catholic 89%, Protestant 11%, Jewish NEGL%
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Population: 96.2%
male: 96.4%
female: 96.1% (2003 est.)
Government Chile
Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Chile
conventional short form: Chile
local long form: Republica de Chile
local short form: Chile
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
13 regions (regiones, singular - region); Aisen del General Carlos Ibanez del Campo, Antofagasta, Araucania, Atacama, Bio-Bio, Coquimbo, Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins, Los Lagos, Magallanes y de la Antartica Chilena, Maule, Region Metropolitana (Santiago), Tarapaca, Valparaiso
note: US does not recognize claims to Antarctica
18 September 1810 (from Spain)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 18 September (1810)
11 September 1980, effective 11 March 1981, amended 30 July 1989, 1993, and 1997
Legal system:
based on Code of 1857 derived from Spanish law and subsequent codes influenced by French and Austrian law; judicial review of legislative acts in Supreme Court; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
note: Chile is in process of completely overhauling its criminal justice system; a new, US-style adversarial system is being gradually implemented throughout country
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Ricardo LAGOS Escobar (since 11 March 2000); note - president is both chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Ricardo LAGOS Escobar (since 11 March 2000); note - president is both chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by president
election results: Ricardo LAGOS Escobar elected president; percent of vote - Ricardo LAGOS Escobar 51.32%, Joaquin LAVIN 48.68%
elections: president elected by popular vote for a six-year term; election last held 12 December 1999, with runoff election held 16 January 2000 (next to be held NA December 2005)
Legislative branch:
bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of Senate or Senado (49 seats, 38 elected by popular vote, 9 designated members, and 2 former presidents who serve six-year terms and are senators for life); elected members serve eight-year terms (one-half elected every four years) and Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (120 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - CPD 20 (PDC 12, PS 5, PPD 3), APC 16 (UDI 9, RN 7), independents 2; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - CPD 62 (PDC 24, PPD 21, PS 11, PRSD 6), UDI 35, RN 22, independent 1
elections: Senate - last held 16 December 2001 (next to be held NA December 2005); Chamber of Deputies - last held 16 December 2001 (next to be held NA December 2005)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Corte Suprema (judges are appointed by president and ratified by Senate from lists of candidates provided by court itself; president of Supreme Court is elected by 21-member court); Constitutional Tribunal
Political parties and leaders:
Alliance for Chile ("Alianza") or APC - includes RN and UDI; Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Adolfo ZALDIVAR]; Coalition of Parties for Democracy ("Concertacion") or CPD - includes PDC, PS, PPD, PRSD; Communist Party or PC [Gladys MARIN]; Independent Democratic Union or UDI [Pablo LONGUEIRA]; National Renewal or RN [Sebastian PINERA]; Party for Democracy or PPD [Guido GIRARDI]; Radical Social Democratic Party or PRSD [Orlando CANTUARIAS]; Socialist Party or PS [Camilo ESCALONA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
revitalized university student federations at all major universities; Roman Catholic Church; United Labor Central or CUT includes trade unionists from countries five largest labor confederations
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Andres BIANCHI
chancery: 1732 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and San Juan (Puerto Rico)
FAX: [1] (202) 887-5579
telephone: [1] (202) 785-1746
Diplomatic representation from US:
chief of mission: Ambassador William R. BROWNFIELD
embassy: Avenida Andres Bello 2800, Las Condes, Santiago
mailing address: APO AA 34033
telephone: [56] (2) 232-2600
FAX: [56] (2) 330-3710
Flag description:
two equal horizontal bands of white (top) and red; there is a blue square same height as white band at hoist-side end of white band; square bears a white five-pointed star in center representing a guide to progress and honor; blue symbolizes sky, white is for snow-covered Andes, and red stands for blood spilled to achieve independence; design previously influenced by US flag
Economy Chile
Economy - overview:
Chile has a market-oriented economy characterized by a high level of foreign trade. During early 1990s, Chile's reputation as a role model for economic reform previously strengthened when democratic government of Patricio AYLWIN - which took over from military in 1990 - deepened economic reform initiated by military government. Growth in real GDP averaged 8% during 1991-97, but fell to half that level in 1998 because of tight monetary policies implemented to keep current account deficit in check and because of lower export earnings - latter a product of globel financial crisis. A severe drought exacerbated recession in 1999, reducing crop yields and causing hydroelectric shortfalls and electricity rationing, and Chile experienced negative economic growth for first time in more than 15 years. Despite effects of recession, Chile maintained its reputation for strong financial institutions and sound policy that have given it strongest sovereign bond rating in South America. By end of 1999, exports and economic activity had begun to recover, and growth rebounded to 4.4% in 2000. Growth fell back to 2.8% in 2001 and 1.8% in 2002, largely due to lackluster globel growth and devaluation of Argentine peso. Unemployment remains stubbornly high, putting pressure on President LAGOS to improve living standards. One bright spot previously signing of a free trade agreement with US, which will take effect on 1 January 2004.
buying power parity - $156.1 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
2.1% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
buying power parity - $10,100 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 11%
industry: 34%
services: 56% (2001)
Population below poverty line:
21% (1998 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 1.3%
highest 10%: 45.6% (1998)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
56.7 (1998)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.5% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
5.9 million (2000 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 14%, industry 27%, services 59% (1997 est.)
Unemployment rate:
9.2% (2002)
revenues: $17 billion
expenditures: $17 billion, includes capital expenditures of $NA (2001 est.)
copper, other minerals, foodstuffs, fish processing, iron and steel, wood and wood products, transport equipment, cement, textiles
Industrial production growth rate:
-1.5% (2002 est.)
Electricity - production:
41.66 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 47%
hydro: 51.5%
other: 1.4% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
40.13 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
1.386 billion kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
13,640 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
241,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
81.05 million bbl (37257)
Natural gas - production:
1.2 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
6.47 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
5.27 billion cu m (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
67.78 billion cu m (37257)
Agriculture - products:
wheat, corn, grapes, beans, sugar beets, potatoes, fruit; beef, poultry, wool; fish; timber
$17.8 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities:
copper, fish, fruits, paper and pulp, chemicals
Exports - partners:
US 19.1%, Japan 10.5%, China 6.7%, Mexico 5%, Italy 4.7%, UK 4.4% (2002)
$15.6 billion f.o.b. (2002)
Imports - commodities:
consumer goods, chemicals, motor vehicles, fuels, electrical machinery, heavy industrial machinery, food
Imports - partners:
Argentina 18%, US 14.9%, Brazil 9.5%, China 6.5%, Germany 4.3% (2002)
Debt - external:
$40.4 billion (2002)
Economic aid - recipient:
ODA, $40 million (2001 est.)
Chilean peso (CLP)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Chilean pesos per US dollar - 688.95 (2002), 634.94 (2001), 535.47 (2000), 508.78 (1999), 460.29 (1998)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Chile
Telephones - main lines in use:
2.603 million (1998)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
944,225 (1998)
Telephone system:
general assessment: modern system based on extensive microwave radio relay facilities
domestic: extensive microwave radio relay links; domestic satellite system with 3 earth stations
international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 180 (eight inactive), FM 64, shortwave 17 (one inactive) (1998)
5.18 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
63 (plus 121 repeaters) (1997)
3.15 million (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
7 (2000)
Internet users:
3.1 million (2002)
Transportation Chile
total: 6,585 km
broad gauge: 2,831 km 1.676-m gauge (1,317 km electrified)
narrow gauge: 3,754 km 1.000-m gauge (2002)
total: 79,814 km
paved: 15,484 km (including 294 km of expressways)
unpaved: 64,330 km (2000)
725 km
gas 2,267 km; gas/liquid petroleum gas 42 km; liquid petroleum gas 531 km; oil 983 km; refined products 545 km (2003)
Ports and harbors:
Antofagasta, Arica, Chanaral, Coquimbo, Iquique, Puerto Montt, Punta Arenas, San Antonio, San Vicente, Talcahuano, Valparaiso
Merchant marine:
total: 50 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 696,202 GRT/900,317 DWT
ships by type: bulk 9, cargo 6, chemical tanker 9, container 4, liquefied gas 2, passenger 4, petroleum tanker 6, roll on/roll off 6, vehicle carrier 4
note: includes a foreign-owned ship registered here as a flag of convenience: Netherlands 1 (2002 est.)
363 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 71
over 3,047 m: 6
2,438 to 3,047 m: 6
1,524 to 2,437 m: 21
914 to 1,523 m: 23
under 914 m: 15 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 292
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 11
914 to 1,523 m: 60
under 914 m: 216 (2002)
Military Chile
Military branches:
Army of Nation, National Navy (including naval air, coast guard, and marines), Air Force of Nation, Chilean Carabineros (National Police), Investigations Police
Military manpower - military age:
19 years of age (2003 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 4,154,636 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 3,070,140 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 131,324 (2003 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$2.5 billion (FY99)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
3.1% (FY99)
Transnational Issues Chile
Disputes - international:
Bolivia continues to press Chile and Peru to restore Atacama corridor ceded to Chile in 1884; dispute with Peru over economic zone delimited by maritime boundary; Chile demands water rights to Bolivia's Rio Lauca and Silala Spring; Beagle Channel islands dispute resolved through Papal mediation in 1984, but armed incidents persist since 1992 oil discovery; territorial claim in Antarctica (Chilean Antarctic Territory) partially overlaps Argentine and British claims
Illicit drugs:
a growing transshipment country for cocaine destined for US and Europe; economic prosperity and increasing trade have made Chile more attractive to traffickers seeking to launder drug profits, especially through Iquique Free Trade Zone; imported precursors passed on to Bolivia; domestic cocaine consumption is rising